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Tougher China Laws Might Have Hurt Apple in IPad Dispute

China is proposing improvements to its 30-year-old trademark law that help household names from abroad better protect their rights. Apple Inc., in its dispute over the iPad name, might be better off without the reforms.

Government proposals for tackling “the rampant problem of trademark squatting” include doubling the maximum damages for infringers to 1 million yuan ($158,539). Since a court already ruled that Apple doesn’t own the iPad name in China, the company would be on the wrong side of the sanctions, said Caroline Berube, an intellectual property lawyer in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.